It's a great day to Gear Up With Gold.
Aviation Management and Operations
Probably the most common question I get when I conduct tours and talk to prospective students and their families is, “What sets WMU apart from other collegiate aviation programs?” My answer is always resources and the quality of education. Almost every week, regional airline companies visit the College of Aviation at Western Michigan University in search for potential new hires from all three of our majors. There is a reason that they come to us and why 94% of our students find a job upon graduation. The quality of education and the resources available are hard to beat. The College of Aviation consistently ranks top three in the nation and we recently introduced our largest incoming freshman class!
In 2019, the College of Aviation will turn 80 years old. That means not only are we well established within the industry, but we have been able to accumulate a lot tools and equipment over the years. We have several aircraft that are used strictly for hands-on learning and excitingly this past spring, I had the opportunity to help start the engines of our Boeing 727, something that will really be a once in a lifetime experience! Days like that only solidify my decision of attending WMU and the College of Aviation.
The College of Aviation offers three programs, one of which is Aviation Maintenance Technology. This is a program that is really taking off and as a new partnership with Delta TechOps begins, there are endless opportunities. During their coursework, students will have the ability to rebuild an engine, take apart and reassemble an airplane, create an airfoil using carbon fiber, and much more!
For those looking to pursue a career in aviation management, our program is designed to expose you to as many aspects of the field of aviation as possible. Whether that is studying meteorology or taking an aircraft power plants class, our goal is for you to feel confident no matter what career path you take. In addition, students will take classes at Western’s Haworth College of Business, which was recently named a “top-tier business school” by U.S. News & World Report!
Our flight department utilizes the Cirrus SR20 as our primary training aircraft. All of them come standard with the Avidyne R9 glass cockpit and SkyWatch traffic avoidance system. The College of Aviation is a part 141 flight school, so we have similar operational components to an airline or corporate flight department. For example, we have a full service dispatch and a supervisor of flight that is always on call whenever there is a training flight being conducted. On top of our aircraft, five state of the art flight simulators bring additional training opportunities.
The College of Aviation is a community within itself. Since we are the smallest college at Western, we are also the most personable. I have never felt as if I was just a number. You will get to know your professors and it is not uncommon to have a college wide BBQ. If you are thinking of joining an aviation registered student organization while on campus (something that I highly recommend), there are several to pick from such as Alpha Eta Rho, National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA), Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, and Women in Aviation to name a few. Joining an RSO is just another way of getting your name out to potential employers while spending time with your friends.
The College of Aviation is entering an exciting few years. Not only are we continuing to grow our fleet, but beginning this January, we will be embarking on a multi-million-dollar expansion and renovation to our facilities at the Battle Creek airport. The construction will be completed in mid-2019 and will add additional
classrooms, an updated/expanded simulator bay, a new main entrance foyer, and much more. If you’ve already toured our facilities and thought they were impressive, just wait, the best is yet to come! This comes off the exciting opening of our new campus in Punta Gorda, Florida, where we have entered our first semester of instruction.
As you can see, the College of Aviation at Western Michigan University is always adapting to best educate the future of aviation professionals. Whether you are an inspiring pilot, maintenance technician, or manager, you will find a home here. I have met some amazing friends at Western and as I am entering my third year, I could not have imagine going to school anywhere else. I look forward to welcoming you to our college and as always, it is a great day to Gear Up with Gold!
WMU Aviation Ambassador